A traditional Nova Scotian Meal with brown beans and brown bread
After a morning of meetings for the Slow Food in Canada National Conference 2014 in Tatamagouche and an afternoon adventure that included lunch at Sugar Moon Farm, a trip to a gorgeous biodynamic farm and then an informative session at Bonnyman’s Wild Blueberries, we had about 20 minutes to freshen up for supper and a Kitchen Party! Look at that lobster roll!
In from a cold chilly raining evening to this bright, warm, cheery environment at Whirligig’s Cafe was such a pleasure… and the entire space was filled with our conference participants. Each seated with some we knew and some we didn’t know yet; the atmosphere was alive with friendships forming.
I was completely charmed by the sun setting through the plate windows overlooking the bay and the clean, bright East coast decor.
Moist, heavy, flavourful brown bread accompanied a light and lively leafy green salad: the perfect introduction to a Spring meal.
My first lobster roll – EVER. Oh, how I have dreamed of them. Lia Rinaldo, my table partner, uttered, “Now, that is a gorgeous looking lobster roll!” Is it, really? I did ask that. Seriously. I had no idea what a “gorgeous looking lobster roll” was supposed to look like. “Oh, yes!” she assured me, “This would be about as perfect looking as you would ever expect. Outer bun toasted and stuffed with lots of lobster and not too much dressing.”
Alrighty, then! Let’s dig in! I went for a huge bite off one end of the roll.
That’s when I discovered lobster rolls are not my thing. It was a revelation, really. Here was the perfect lobster roll. It was definitely tasty – but lobster is such a delicacy to those of us land-locked from the Canadian prairies that I just couldn’t enjoy it the way one maybe could who was privvy to lobster. I have never had my fill of lobster. I don’t think I will ever have my fill of lobster, and a lobster roll just isn’t how I want my lobster. It almost seemed blasphemous to eat a lobster in such a casual presentation.
Also, my first fishcake. I had heard that these were served traditionally with a green tomato condiment many call Chow, or Chow-Chow, yet I didn’t expect this condiment to be everywhere a fishcake was. Certainly, the two were inseparable at all restaurants during my travels. And, delicious together, I must say! The fishcake was almost more of a potato cake. Really delicious and crispy on the outside with chunks of fish mixed with well seasoned potato and I believe a little onion in the interior. Yummy.
The chow was quite saucy, but they vary, depending upon where you go. The brown beans were tasty. I do really enjoy brown beans, particularly with a hearty brown bread, as was served at this meal – but it was just too much. Had to save room for the wild blueberry crumble!
I never tire of these, and though I was stuffed, tucked into it anyway. Of course, the berries were from Bonnyman’s Wild Blueberries. Mmmm!
Fat and happy from feasting on Lobster Rolls and Fish Cakes, we waddled into the misty twilight and across the street for our first ever Kitchen Party!
Mallory @ Because I Like Chocolate says
Oh that’s funny that it was such a let-down! Before I went vegetarian, lobster rolls were one of my favourite things on EARTH! I went on a trip to the east coast awhile back and I made it my mission to find the best lobster roll in Maine and Massachusetts (and never really declared a definite winner, they were all good!). And now I don’t eat them anymore…haha!
Valerie Lugonja says
It was a shock, actually. I just completely expected to be all over them. I love crab salad and just thought that would translate into loving a lobster roll – but, nope. Not even close.
I think it’s important to point out the error of your statement that eating lobster in such a casual presentation is almost blasphemous. Historically in Nova Scotia, lobster was in fact a sign of poverty. Kids would even ditch their lobster sandwiches on the way to school so as not to be made fun of. Thus, eating lobster rolls connects us to our past; it reminds us of the roll lobster has played in our culinary narrative.
Valerie Lugonja says
I am really surprised that you would think I was referring to that from anyone’s point of view other than my own. For me – as a prairie girl – it is truly blasphemous. Lobster is a precious delicacy from where I come from, so my statement is in no way an error. I learned this trip that in Newfoundland particularly and in the old days in Nova Scotia, that lobster was deemed a poor man’s food. I have an upcoming post about that. Lots more to come. As I write each post, I am writing from my view and sharing my personal experience and reaction to my new learning. This was a very powerful trip for me as a Canadian, as a lover of Canadian food, as an executive member of Slow Food in Canada and as a past Canadian history teacher. There is so much that I learned and personally experienced this trip that was contrary to what I had actually been taught and taught myself in some of my classes on the prairies. Eating lobster rolls on the East Coast is definitely a part of your cultural history. I just didn’t enjoy it. I respect it. I expected to love them, but I didn’t. That was a big surprise, even for me. Thought I had said all of that. Glad to have the opportunity to say it again. Thank you – sincerely – for taking the time to read and to provide your perspective, clarification and understanding of what I have written. It gives me the same opportunity to clarify my intent. I wish we had the time to meet while we were out there.